Round 1, Bout 4 of Master of Marzen 2021 sees Mastry’s Brewing (Florida) taking on Hop and Barrel (Wisconsin).
Both of these breweries are first-time entrants in the tournament. I’m excited to see how this plays out.
Two very different takes as far as can design is concerned.
Mastry’s Oktoberfest has a dark and industrial design. If you look in the bottom-right corner of the their can in the image above, you will see the faintest inclusion of the traditional Bavarian check. I do find the can aesthetically pleasing, but at first glance (outside of its name) I would have assumed it was a heavy hitting IPA or stout around the 10% ABV mark.
Hop and Barrel’s Oktoberfest really leans into the imagery of Oktoberfest. A white background with Oktoberfest-blue hops creating a check-esque pattern is emblazoned with a cartoon figure of a man dressed similarly to the former German Kaiser.
I find both cans quite aesthetically pleasing, but given the style and motifs, I’m giving the Oktoberfest edge to Hop and Barrel on this one. Running total: Mastry’s 0-1 Hop and Barrel.
Mastry’s Oktoberfest offers a light and bright aroma that’s stacked with malty notes. The bready aroma offers a slight warmth and a touch of sweetness.
Hop and Barrel’s Oktoberfest offers a deeper aroma, with an strong toasted malt foundation. It’s also quite sweet, but not as warm.
After giving each another sniff or two, I’m going to give a slight edge to Mastry here. Running total: Mastry’s 1-1 Hop and Barrel.
Mastry’s offers a light and tasty festbier seasonal. It opens reasonably sweet, with a nice rush of un-toasted malts and a bit of hoppy bitterness on the backend. The aftertaste is sweet and malty, and builds a little from mouthful to mouthful.
Hop and Barrel’s take on the style is a much more cohesive experience from start to finish. A toasted malt foundation with a perfect balance of bitterness is present from front to back and well into the aftertaste, retaining into the aftertaste and building significantly between mouthfuls.
While I definitely appreciate both, I’m giving the edge to Hop and Barrel here. Their execution was borderline textbook as far as flavor goes. Running total: Mastry’s 1-2 Hop and Barrel.
As might be expected by the color differential, Mastry is a lighter-bodied brew overall. The Hop and Barrel is a mid-bodied and smooth brew.
As you can see above, Mastry’s is a much lighter and more translucent brew. Neither brew retained much head, although Hop and Barrel has a very thin ring of foam. Neither beer laced at all.
With both brews being pretty smooth, I’m giving an edge to Hop and Barrel here. Running total: Mastry’s 1-3 Hop and Barrel.
The fifth criteria on which these brews are judged is public polling on the sargentsuds Instagram account. Let’s see how that played out.
As you’ll see in the image above, Mastry’s takes this point with a reasonably healthy margin. Running total: Mastry’s 2-3 Hop and Barrel.
It was an excellent battle between two first-time entrants. Both beers are very enjoyable in their own right, but Hop and Barrel squeaks through into the second round where they will meet the winner of Tucker Brewing vs. Sudwerk Brewing.
Be asure to check back regularly for updated results, and to follow @sargentsuds on Instagram so you can vote on all polls throughout the tournament.